Founded in 1919 by a group of Newport residents and several parishioners of Trinity Church, who saw a need to provide services and assistance to servicemen, or those who worked and traveled the sea, the Seamen's Church Institute moved to its existing location in January 1930. Thanks to the generosity of Maude and Edith Wetmore, the Institute was the recipient of a newly constructed, completely furnished and equipped three-story Georgian revival building.
Given in memory of the Wetmore's parents, George and Edith, the building was designed by Frederick Rhinelander King, who also designed the Wetmore's garden house at "Chateau sur Mer" on Bellevue Avenue. The Seamen's building was listed on The National Registry of Historic Places in 1983.
Two significant features of this historic building are the six-foot square mural of Narragansett Bay, painted by William H. Drury in 1930, and the Chapel of the Sea, a gift from Mrs. Hamilton Fish Webster as a memorial to her mother, Mrs. Marie Post. Portrait artist and muralist Durr Freedley was commissioned to design and execute the frescoed Chapel that was dedicated in June 1933.